Which Came First?

I’ve hatched a new book! It’s about a chicken named P. Zonka.Paschkis Zonka cover

But an egg came before this chicken – many eggs.eggs

Every year my sister Jan and her husband Greg have a huge party where we (family and friends) decorate eggs – also called pysanky. And Jan and Greg keep chickens. I started to wonder what it would be like if one of those chickens laid a pysanka. Hence P. Zonka was born. This is a painting I made of P. Zonka before the text was written.Paschkis zonka study

Where do ideas come from? I think partly from indirection, from wandering. That is where P. Zonka’s eggs come from. Everything she sees goes into her eggs.When I worked on the book I went back and forth between the text and the pictures. Sometimes the text was the chicken and the art was the egg and sometimes vice versa. Paschkis Zonka painting

If you have ever tried to make a pysanka you know that mistakes are inevitable – at some point when you least want it a blob of wax dribbles onto your egg and it cannot be removed. The trick is to think of that blob as a blobbortunity.Here is an example of a blob transformed into beauty by my friend Aliza Corrado. When her egg was completed it was impossible to tell which part was a blob and which was intentional.aliza's egg

Likewise, wanderings and errors enrich our work. Whenever I finish a book I see all the ways it could be better or different. P. Zonka’s creativity is spurred by digression and synthesis. So is mine, but there is also a strain of dissatisfaction – the sense with each project that I could have gone further or been freer. These wishes for something different are somewhat painful, but they are also great big blobbortunities. They push me  to make another painting or book, another chicken or egg. And so the process goes on.Paschkis Zonkapaschkis pysanky
p.s. If this post makes you want to decorate eggs, here is a guide to having an egg party. Peachtree also made an activity guide with a whole range of egg-tivities, available here. And if you are in Seattle, please come to Secret Garden Books in Ballard this Saturday, March 21 at 2 PM for a book party. I’ll be reading and signing books. I will give away one of these pysanky and also a print from the Julie Paprika website. And there will be cookies!paschkiseggsIMG_0075

13 responses to “Which Came First?

  1. What a beautiful new book!

  2. I really love the book concept and congrats on finishing it.

  3. Love “blobbortunity.” 🙂 Hooray for P. Zonka!

  4. I love the idea of this book and how it came about. I have always admired these eggs.

  5. This is such a gorgeous, happy, wonderful book, cover to cover, Julie. You are just as talented a writer as illustrator. xo

  6. love, love love, Julie! the way you see color and pattern just makes me salivate its so rich and delicious! Keep doing what you do!

  7. Pingback: Links I Loved Last Week: A Round-Up of Online Reading 3/22/15 | the dirigible plum

  8. Congratulations on your new book – and wow, those eggs are gorgeous. Not this year, but maybe next, I’ll make time for a blobbortunity (great word 🙂 ) to try it for myself…

  9. Pingback: New Picture Book for Easter: P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis –

  10. Pingback: Now, Then and Soon | Mooshka

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